I’m on a tight budget and really want to buy some new clothes. Do you have any advice to help me make the right choices?
Buy clothing that will span all seasons — like wool crepe or matte jersey. Try to plan your wardrobe around three neutral colors. Choose between khaki, navy, brown, black, white or creme. Buy more solids than prints – you won’t get tired of them as quickly.
Focus on general trends. You will wear these items longer. They are a better fashion bet and can be found at all price points. Fads always have a shorter life span than trends.
Remember that buying inexpensive items just because they are inexpensive is almost always a bad investment. If you can’t afford to buy the item that you really want, wait awhile. Remix existing clothes or alter your hair, makeup or accessories to achieve a new look.
Don’t choose buying the cashmere sweater over making the car payment. Be responsible and always shop with your budget in mind.
Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.
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Even though I frequently advise my clients to add more storage to their bathroom when faced with this situation, I myself did not want to add more cabinets to our bathroom because I was enjoying it’s spaciousness.
So, before I made any decision about what to do, I decided to only put into my side of the cabinet, the makeup and skin care that I use on a daily basis. The rest I left in the plastic shoebox that I had moved in with.
I am personally amazed to report: I have only pulled that box out twice in 6 months! Once for false eyelashes (yes, for a special event) and the other to retrieve my red lipstick which I obviously seldom, if ever, wear.
The moral to this story is this – we all need far less makeup and skin care than we own. I love the fact that all of my stuff fits into one tiny cabinet and yes, I am proud of it too!
This is your challenge should you decide to accept it: go to your makeup drawer or drawers (I know who you are out there!) and remove every product that you dont use regularly. Stash it away out of sight and see if you ever go back to search for something in it. Your rewards will be two-fold.
1. You will be able to find everything you need from now on with very little effort because there will no be any clutter.
2. You will spend much less money on makeup and skin care and what you do decide to purchase can probably be of much higher quality because you are spending less money on trivial spur of the moment purchases.
So this is the lesson from my new bathroom: Pedestal Sink = More Simplified Life
Clutter happens when your life changes and you are not really ready for it. Holding onto the past is a big clutter culprit. Not only might your closet be dysfunctional, it can squelch your spirit.
For example, If your body has changed and you are still holding onto your “skinny” clothes, your closet is probably dysfunctional and bulging at the seams. 2013 is time to let those old skinny clothes go.
Clothes that are too small and still hanging around in your closet can cause anxiety, depression and feelings of low self esteem. If you truly want to get back into your skinny clothes, ditch all of the old ones except maybe your favorite pair of jeans (to use as a litmus test) and keep only the clothes that fit you now in your closet. Try it! wearing clothes that fit perfectly, no matter what your size is now, boosts your self esteem and happiness factor which, in turn, promotes greater will power to get back down to your ” skinny” size if you decide later on that it really is still important!
Ok, so now I know what might be going through your head as you read this “what if I do lose the weight and then have nothing to wear”. What about all of the money I will be wasting? Think about it, if and when you do get down to your old skinny size, do you really want to pull out those old clothes as your reward? Probably not, you will want to celebrate your new slim self with new clothes. Right? So go ahead, chuck the old clothes that no longer fit your body, undersized or oversize, they just don’t deserve any space within your closet.
Kathi! Help! We are headed to my friends wedding on Long Island. I got this outfit for the bachorette day. What color tights would you recommend?? I have pantyhose & black ones… But the black just seems so … Dark. Au secours!!
Hose are still not perfect but sheer tights will do the trick. Try a pair with a pattern like the ones I show below. The pattern will also step up your outfit a bit more.
I have always struggled with what to wear as an African American Male, so I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me?
1. I have attached a picture of myself and I’m wondering if I am a cool or warm skin tone? (I have green veins)
2. What kind of jewelry will look best on me? For example, white gold or yellow gold?
3. What colors of clothing would be best for me to wear?
If you have time, it would help me a lot if you could answer these questions.
University of Oklahoma
Business Finance and Philosophy
Thanks for your question and also for sending me your photo. I realize that determining your best colors can be quite a challenge. Since you say your veins are more green hued than blue, I would say that you have a warm skin tone. In the picture your skin tone also appears more brown (warm) than black (cool).
With these details in mind I would suggest that you wear yellow gold jewelry, not white gold or silver.
The colors that will look best will be in the warm yellow tinted colors not colors with blue tints. Choose clothes that are made with the bright colors that occur in nature during the fall season. Since you live in Oklahoma, this will be easy to identify and you should be getting a lot of inspiration in the coming months!
I would love to see you in lime green, pumpkin, saffron, bright orange red etc. If you have a choice between white and ivory or off-white for your shirts, always choose ivory. It is a warm color and will even out your skin tone.
It might be helpful to print a copy of the color wheel in this article and take it with you when you shop to get a better idea of what colors to wear.
When you are shopping and uncertain about the color, ask someone close by if you look healthy or tired when you hold the item up close to your face. If your skin tone looks more even and healthier, you are on the right track. If your face looks tired or your skin tone is more faded, don’t make that purchase.
Also, if you wear something and throughout the day people ask you if you are tired or feeling under the weather, this is a tell tale indication that you are wearing the wrong color and it is probably has more of a blue than a yellow base. I hope this helps!
Best of luck to you. If you find the perfect item or outfit in a color that makes you look and feel fantastic, please send me another photo!
One of my readers just submitted a comment stating that his/her friends said that they should never wear bright colors because their skin is too dark. I feel that this statement is nonsense and this is my response:
I am sorry to hear that others say your skin is too black to wear bright colors. Too bad for them because they are incorrect and congratulations to you for trying to jazz up your appearance!
Having black skin does not make it inappropriate to wear bright colors. In fact I find bright colors often enhance darker skin tones IF they are right color spectrum for their skin tone, either cool or warm.
What you really need to consider when choosing colors to enhance your image is the warmth or coolness of your skin tone. Skin tones that are cool, will look best in cool tones, warm skin tones will be complimented with warmer tones.
If you look at a basic color wheel, you will see that colors range from warm to cool. So do skin tones.
There are many tricks for determining which side of the spectrum your skin falls under, warm or cool.
One easy method is to get two swatches of cloth about the size of your face, one gold and one silver. Pull your hair back from your face and hold each one up to your face. Notice which one minimizes the shadows and imperfections in your skin. Notice also which one makes you look more tired sallow toned.
If gold makes your skin look even toned, with less imperfections and even glowing or sunny, you have a warm skin tone. If blue enhances your face and makes the lines and imperfections disappear, your skin tone is cool.
Whatever tone your skin is, you will be able to wear bright colors if they within the tonality of your skin. The perfect colors you choose will fall into bright warm colors or bright cool colors. The color graph below might help you understand which bright colors will be the correct choice for you to wear.
If you still have difficulty determining your skin tone, try this test. Look at the back of your hand. If you have an orange – yellow tint, you are of a warm skin tone. If you have a blue tint, your tone will be of the cooler family.
Another way to tell is look at your veins on the inside of your wrist. if they are green, you probably are a warm tone. If they appear more blue, you are a cool.
Want to learn more about what clothes work best for your body? Check out this special report The 18 Essential Wardrobe Elements For Women
I hope this helps. Have fun wearing bright colors. I think it brightens everyones day when you show up wearing the perfect bright pop of color coordinated into a nice outfit! I realize that there is not enough helpful information published for people of color and I will keep writing more articles on this subject, so please check back often!
Winter and Summer complexions are both cool skin tones with a blue base. These ‘seasons’ so to speak are helpful when determining what clothing to buy and what to wear.
Both of these seasons are best served by wearing cooler or more blue based colors.
Summers differ from winter complexions in that they are a bit softer. Winters will have a large contrast between their skin, hair and eyes where summers will bled more gently together. Because summers are themselves of softer tones, they look best in blended colors, not with dramatic variations. Wearing strong contrasted colors will make them appear overpowered and tired.
Winter complexions are usually more dramatic with a strong contrast between skin, hair and eyes. The combination of black hair, pale skin and blue eyes. is a typical indicator of a ‘winter’ complexion. A strong pairing of contrasting colors will enliven and accent the already intense look of a winter.
Taking notice of the colors in nature during each of these seasons also helps you determine which colors correspond with your tonality. Take for instance the stark contrast of crisp white winter snow and the deep red of a poinsettia.
I have several upcoming dressy events. I am used to wearing one of my suits with a glittery blouse to jazz up for the holidays but this year would like to do it a little better. What should I buy to add some jazz to my holiday outfits?
Glittery tops paired with suits can run the risk of looking like you’ve simply thrown together an outfit for your holiday office party.
Try to choose a classic cut to transcend future years, such as a sheath or a dress with an empire waist. Look for vertical seams that narrow in at the waist.
A V or scoop neckline usually works for most body types. 3/4 sleeves will help your dress stretch across all seasons. Choose the sleeve length based on your body type. Sleeveless dresses work well for women with nice upper arms, whereas short sleeves, 3/4 or long help conceal wobbly upper arms. Keep in mind that 3/4 and long sleeves are much more elegant than short sleeves unless they are capped.
The perfect hemline for your new dress will be knee length. This is a timeless classic length. The hem should stop at the skinny part of your knee. The perfect black dress will emphasize your best assets and skim, not cling to, any part of your torso.
Avoid sparkly designs built into the fabric. Instead add your own sparkle with jewelry if the event dictates a little glitz. Jewelry can change your dress from glam to sophisticated. For a formal office event, accent your dress with pearls and sophisticated low-vamped pumps. For New Year’s Eve, consider wearing rhinestones and glitzy gold or silver, strappy sandals. For a less formal Christmas dinner, let the dress stand on its own with minimal, simple gold jewelry and ballerina slipper style slides.
Buy a short velvet or organza jacket that has similar lines and your dress will transform right before your eyes. Or choose a long brocade trench coat for the Audrey Hepburn look.
A faux-fur trimmed sweater or blazer can completely transform your little black dress. Buy this sweater in cranberry, eggplant or evergreen for another surprising pizzazz.
For starters, I’ll admit that I am clueless about clothes, so please excuse me if this sounds like a dumb question. I have just received an invitation to a party at a business colleague’s home. The invitation reads, “holiday attire welcome.” What does this really mean to me – formal? informal? silly Santa tie? holiday sweater? – or what?
Joe, San Diego
Don’t feel bad about not knowing what to wear to this event. The invitation is cryptic at best. To decide what to wear, we need to discover a few more details.
What type of business environment does the host work in? What type of clothes does he/she normally wear on the job? What is the address of the home where the party will take place? Was the invitation personally or professionally printed? Is the event in the evening indoors or outside during the day?
When an invitation is professionally printed, scheduled in the evening and at a prestigious address, you typically want to dress more formally. If the invitation is a daytime affair set in an informal environment, you have more latitude for casual attire.
Consider closely your colleague’s normal work clothes and status. If always in khakis and polo shirts, the colleague’s event will most likely be different than if he is always in a suit and tie.
As a man, your job of hitting the mark with your outfit is much easier than a woman’s because your choices are more limited. My advice is that you can never look too sharp, especially if this is a business contact that you are trying to nurture.
As a non-suit and tie affair, you can’t go wrong wearing a pair of dark dress slacks, a collared shirt in an unusual color or pattern, (coral, teal, brown, something besides “serious” white) and a coordinating blazer. Make sure your shoes are polished and crisp; in other words, no topsiders.
If your host never wears a suit, you should follow his lead. Wear a blazer in a more casual and relaxed fabric like tweed or corduroy and a pair of dark jeans. Every man, by the way, should own a pair of dark, nicely fitting jeans. This means almost black in color and no holes. These are an invaluable addition to your wardrobe and can be dressed up or down depending on your shirt and shoes.
When you arrive at the party, quickly scan the crowd, If the blazer is too formal, take it off immediately, as if it were an outer coat. You will then blend in with the crowd at hand. NEVER wear the cute holiday sweater or tie to an unknown event. In fact, in my opinion, they should be outlawed. If you still feel overdressed, be aware that you may be the best-dressed man at the event. This is always an asset, especially if you are trying to develop business relationships.
“Holiday attire welcome” might mean that the hosts are planning on wearing clothes with a little more glitz and polish for this event. Again, you can’t go wrong with a blazer. Top your jeans with a nice crisp collared shirt and you will appear put together and sophisticated. Don’t worry if other men in the crowd are wearing funny ties and the Santa sweater that they only wear once a year. Revel in the knowledge that you know they don’t really want to wear those eyesores and that you don’t have a partner who insists that you bring one out once a year!
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